Arizona, and not just Derrick Williams, get past Texas
We will remember Derrick Williams’ late game heroics first, J’Covan Brown’s overall game second, and that brainfart five-second call on Texas third, but Arizona’s 70-69 victory over the Longhorns was fueled by a first half that saw a pair of unheralded guards convert on three pointer after three pointer.
The Wildcats bench, more specifically guards Jordin Mayes and Brendon Lavender, were absolutely pivotal as Williams struggled for much of the game -- the driving force in the program’s biggest win under second year head coach Sean Miller.
Combining for 24 points and going a perfect 6-6 from beyond the arc, the bench duo were able to mitigate their star player’s slow start, and keep Texas at bay for the game’s first 30 minutes.
The scouting report coming in was that the Longhorns frontcourt may give the Wildcat’s star problems. We were right! But completely overlooked the capabilities and potential of the young role players that comprise the rest of this rotation... although it should be noted that Williams still found a way to lead his team in scoring and rebounding.
It’s easy to categorize Arizona as a one-trick pony. During the regular season Williams account for roughly one of every four points and rebounds accumulated by the team. But watching them hold a lead, relinquish a lead, then eeek out an upset victory with their star player having a bit of a rough go of it is impressive.
Remember, some were critical of Texas’ No. 4 seeding; convinced that they were underseeded and a very dangerous threat coming out of the West region. That talk is all mute now.
It looks like the Sean Miller Experiment may be at least a year or two ahead of schedule.